Saturday, 9 December 2006

Harmison still lost

Steve Harmison bowled 21 overs today. They went for 99, and he picked up only one wicket. Given that he was comfortably out-bowled by both James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood, is his place in the Third Test really a given?

Harmison has does nothing in this series to remotely suggest he can bowl match-turning spells; when England needed fine bowling to save the last Test, Andrew Flintoff turned to Ashley Giles ahead of him. While it is true that he has a tendency to drift in and out of form without warning, can England actually afford to risk selecting him for a Test they cannot lose? And, if they decide against playing Harmison, will he even play again?

It is not as stupid a question as it may seem. Harmison’s body language suggests a man lost; the truth is he has been far too inconsistent since the end of the 2004 English summer. We thought he was the next Curtly Ambrose. Then we thought he was the next Andrew Caddick. Now he looks nearer to the next Devon Malcolm.

On a pretty encouraging day, with the exception of Harmison’s bowling, Western Australia reached 309-8. England need to see Harmison do more bowling to see if he is ready for the Third Test. Thanks to the folly of playing only a two-day game, they won’t. We are about to see the extent of the management’s faith in his mercurial qualities.

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Chrispy said...

Strauss captain hey? And the opposition fail to score over 500 in their first innings. Coincidence? Monty with a run out, good to see, shame about the dropped catch, but 1-1 with Gilo in the match and it was obvious from who bowled more overs, who was the bigger threat and Strauss's preferred choice prehaps. Flintoff would unlikely have made such a sensible decision!

Chrispy said...

And I believe Saj has demonstrated that he can fulfill the Ashley batting role, whilst also taking more wickets! Will Flintoff let Fletcher do his job though? I always felt Fletcher would have preferred Jones, but also Mahmood who always got in Fletcher's side over the last 12 months regardless of form. I think that Fred backed Fletcher up on Jones but that there might have been some devision when it came to Mahmood, Panesar, Anderson and Giles and I think Fred won. And with Fred as captain surely Harmless is untouchable!

Madhav said...

On the final day of the second test, no one apart from Flintoff managed to trouble the Aussie batsmen. Giles failed to exploit the rough, Anderson bowled at a friendly pace, line and length, and Harmison, as you've rightly said, was listless. Perhaps England should push for the laws of the game to be amended to allow the same bowler to operate from both ends! :)

PS: Nice blog!